Thomas Foster

Thomas Foster

Formal First Name
1950 - present

Thomas Foster is Professor Emeritus of English at the University of Michigan, Flint. During his tenure at the university, he taught classes in contemporary fiction, drama, and poetry, as well as creative writing and freelance writing. Professor Foster started teaching literature and writing in 1975. Hundreds of students owe at least part of their understanding of some of the 20th century’s greatest writers to him. Aside from his fine work as a teacher and an administrator, he is also recognized as a prolific researcher and writer.

  • Foster grew up in West Cornfield, Ohio.
  • His earliest interests included works by Robert Louis Stevenson and Mark Twain.


  • Foster joined UM-Flint in 1987.
  • He spent 27 years as a popular instructor in a wide range of courses for undergraduates and graduate students—from introductory courses in classical literature and literary genres to upper-level and graduate classes on modern and contemporary British literature.
  • He has noted that he has learned more about literature through his students than through all the classes he has taken on the subject during his educational career.
  • He served on numerous departments and committees at UM-Flint.
  • He was instrumental in the establishment of the English Department’s Master of Arts in English Language and Literature in 2007, where he served as the first director and designed numerous policies and procedures for its continuing success over the five years of his tenure.
  • Foster retired at the end of 2014.


  • Foster was the author of many academic articles and of eight books, some written for academic audiences and some for the general reader.
  • His present academic writing concentrates on 20th and 21st century British, American and Irish figures and movements—James Joyce, William Faulkner, Seamus Heaney, John Fowles, Derek Mahon, Eavan Boland, modernism, and postmodernism.
  • He also reads and teaches on several other literary branches, including writers such as Shakespeare, Dickens, Hardy, Twain, Homer, Poe, Ibsen, and Sophocles.


  • Since retiring, Foster spends his time piddling around with his English setters, whom he takes hunting in season and snowshoeing in the winter, fly-fishing for smallmouth bass and kayaking in warmer times, and looking for new writers in all seasons.